Atletico Madrid were unable to overcome Malaga and Barcelona were similarly frustrated at Elche as the race to win La Liga remained unsettled after the weekend’s action. Real Madrid’s faint title hopes evaporated as they were beaten 2-0 at Celta Vigo. Atleti’s failure to win means the title will be decided next Sunday when they face Barcelona in a showdown at Camp Nou.
Atletico Madrid were held to a draw at the Vicente Calderon by Malaga, leaving Diego Simeone’s side in limbo for another week. Malaga frustrated their opponents in a goalless first half that was scrappy and nervy. The visitors eventually took a surprise lead on 65 minutes, Samuel Garcia sliding the ball home after a mix up between goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and fellow Belgian Toby Alderweireld. The defender made amends nine minutes later, however, heading the equaliser for his first goal for Atletico. Malaga defender Marcos Angeleri was sent off three minutes from time as tempers frayed and Atleti were denied victory as Jose Sosa sent the resulting free kick wide.
A goalless draw at Elche left Barcelona three points behind Atletico and needing a win over the leaders next Sunday to give them their 23rd Primera crown with a superior head-to-head record, having drawn with Atleti earlier in the season. The result guaranteed Elche’s top-flight survival but the game saw yet another below-par display from the Catalans, whose best chance came early on when Andres Iniesta hit the bar with a 20-yard volley. Lionel Messi also squandered a second-half chance, the Argentine hitting his effort straight at goalkeeper Manu Herrera.
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Celta Vigo ended any lingering hopes Real Madrid had of winning La Liga with a 2-0 victory over Carlo Ancelotti’s men at Estadio Balaidos that left Los Blancos five points behind leaders Atletico with just one game left. Ancelotti was without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale was on the bench as Celta took a 41st-minute lead. Sergio Ramos slipped, allowing Charles to run clear on goal before rounding Diego Lopez to slot home. Celta’s second in the 63rd minute also came from an error as Charles seized on Xabi Alonso’s awful backpass to nip in and score.
Real Sociedad were indebted to striker Imanol Agirretxe who grabbed a late equaliser to earn his side a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao in the Basque Country. Iker Muniain’s goal from 25 yards gave the hosts the lead to create a party atmosphere at San Mames Barria following Athletic’s qualification for the Champions League. Agirretxe denied their rivals what would have been their first derby win for two years when he struck on 75 minutes.